13 Signs Your Home Inspector Works for You
Remember when we were kids? Working at Micky D’s until that predictable last day when a car load of your friends rolled in and convinced you that your were an underpaid, overworked pawn in the turn n burn game called fast food and seriously… you deserve better. Besides, dude… its summer and com’on…its 105 outside and Zuma Beach is packed. With the courage of a conqueror, you made it towards the door as your manager yelled a plethora of colorful obscenities your way because you now promoted him to picker upper of the parking lot cigarette butts and trash. Ahhh, those were the days weren’t they? Boss, manager, supervisor, administrator, controller… Call-em what you like, they are all in one way or another people who we answer to and really, we all have to answer to someone.
Home inspectors believe it or not, are not immune to having someone to answer to. They may not have a time card to punch or the proverbial water cooler to stand around and gossip at, or that board meeting to be late for but make no mistake, they have people by which they must be accountable to. And who may that be you ask? It’s you.
Maybe it’s because i’m biased having been in the real estate business for as long as I have, but I believe home inspectors play one of the most significant and important roles in the protection of real people who are planning on buying real property. The difference between what makes a good inspector and one who merely performs a task for the sake of making an income in my opinion, is an inspector who places the responsibility of genuine people squarely on their shoulders and do not waver in their duty of providing a detailed, thorough analysis of a buildings condition no matter where or what meduim the client originated from. So who does your home inspector work for?
Baskets of Prosperity
Home inspectors can freeley choose to place their business (or in this analogy eggs), into whatever baskets they wish in order to provide a means of income for themselves. But in the home inspection business, there aren’t a lot of baskets for inspectors to choose from. Really, there are only two,
- The basket of real estate agents
- The basket of the people.
There will come a time in the home inspector’s career where their business simply gravitates towards a particular basket in which their eggs will ultimately accumulate and thus occupy. This is primarily determined by the inspectors ethics, abilities, empathy and care, or a lack thereof.
The Real Estate Basket
Should the inspector choose to place their eggs into the basket of some real estate professionals, they are now subject to becoming owned by some of these barons of eggs-n-baskets. But inspector beware that inside this group’s baskets are promises of comradery, endless funds and repeat business by way of innumerable referrals for years to come. Just as long as you conform to their standards and (fill in the blank), only then can you hang-out in this basket. Most inspectors cannot survive or make a living without real estate agent referrals so for them, they may not have a choice but to become “owned” by the real estate agent. These types of inspection companies are not hard to find, just check the list of inspectors your agent hands you because really, these baskets are all over the place in Los Angeles and are home to a huge majority of inspection companies, probably over 95%.
The Home buyers Basket
On the other hand, theres another basket. This basket is beautifully decorated with ribbon, lace and chiffon. Picture an easter basket without all that green grassy stuff that seems to get all over the house and stuck in your vacuum every year and you only know this because your mom seems to have a way of gracefully reminding you of this fact, but I digress… This basket is held in the hands of you the home buyer. The inspectors who place their eggs into this basket understand that the manner in which they work, the ethics they possess or the standards by which they perfect their craft may not allow them to place their orbs of hard-boiled perfection into some of those “other” baskets.
There are, however, occasions where their eggs get picked up briefly and placed into the “other ” basket but once the shell is removed and that little yellow center is exposed, they are quickly discarded. Is it the fact that the yellow part is full of cholesterol and that high cholesterol is an epidemic that they are discarded? Or maybe the yoke is a metaphor for honesty, integrity and morality and well, truth. Im not sure… but what I am sure of is that “these guys” are comfortable with their twig woven egg confines because really its quite cozy…very empty and roomy. They don’t make baskets like this anymore and there really are so few of these eggs to choose from.
Indications That Your Inspector Works for You
1) An inspector who works for the buyer is an inspector who is empathetic to the buyers circumstances and is compelled to help them better understand the property condition, whatever that may be. He’ll take charge of the inspection and direct the buyer in the best, safest manner possible for your protection.
2) This inspector doesn’t downplay any of the issues but rather speaks from a perspective of both safety and protection. The issues are-what-they-are…, he did not create them, magnify them, modify the building prior to the inspection, contrary to what others may think.
3) This inspector prioritizes and summarizes all issues which he feels are important on different levels and for different reasons. For example, although an old building code for stairs may require a 6″ opening within the vertical stair railings,(new code is 4″) he may feel that because you have little ones, this is a real and present danger and place that on a summary despite the fact that the issue is considered by most as “old code” and therefore is is “grandfathered”which does not have to be improved, repaired or retrofitted. The fact is that the issue presents itself as a hazard to their small children who will occupy the building.
4) This inspector will take whatever time necessary to perform the inspection. One hour, two hours, four hours…he will not be rushed. Period.
5) This inspector knows code, both old as well as current building code. He’s not an idiot and will not suggest the entire building be retrofitted to new codes or standards because that’s ridiculous. He will, however, discuss code changes that will affect the clients safety and explains that codes change because there is a more current, safer manner of protection available that is more stringent than the last code. Understand that codes change much like laws do in some cases prompted when people are injured or die.
“Never accept a check list style report”.HBA
6) This inspector has real knowledge of all stages of the building and trades. He possess the ability to give the buyer different levels of costs for many repairs which are not hidden or require additional testing (of course). An inspector such as this will only suggest additional testing when absolutely necessary by a specialized individual, such as a structural engineer for settlement or foundation damage, or a plumber to locate the origin of a leak for example. An ethical inspector will never perform work on a property he/she inspects.
7) This inspector may possess standards of practice but will not allow any standards of practice to prohibit his ability to perform his duty of protecting the buyer. He also does not use these standards simply as a shield to protect himself from lawsuits.
8) After the inspection, this inspector is available to you and generally, wishes to discuss issues associated with the property with the person who is spending the money, not making it. That said, he understands the process and is open to speak to anyone (who possess a level of civility) regarding the property.
9) Your inspector’s choice of report style is a narrative style report because it offers a complete explanation of the defect. (Never accept a checklist style report)
10) Your inspector uses whatever tools necessary to provide a thorough inspection such as shower pan testing equipment, infrared cameras, moisture meters etcetera… Basically any tool necessary to get the job done and protect his client (obviously without destroying the building).
11) This inspector in Los Angeles is a contractor or (city type ICC certified) certified building inspector, a seasoned professional with thousands of home inspections performed. He knows a lot and therefore finds a lot. (try to quantify a “certified-only” inspectors experience)
12) This inspector cares less about who likes him as a result of his craft and more about what the client thinks about his ability to perform his job. Furthermore, he will not sell out his integrity to anyone for any amount of work because his primary concern is the safety and the investment of his clients.
13) This inspector is willing to help you thorough the inspection process and truly knows what is a big deal and what is not a big deal. The issues are-what-they-are. If they are mountain then he calls them mountains. If they are molehills, then they will stay molehills.